Originally written on The Rangers Tribune  |  Last updated 12/26/11

NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 04: Marc Staal #18 of the New York Rangers celebrates against the Washington Capitals on February 4, 2010 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

The New York Rangers are reporting that defenseman Marc Staal, who hasn't played a game this season due to post-concussion symptoms, has officially been cleared for contact. Staal has been skating with the team for a couple weeks now, but today's morning skate was the first time in which he engaged in all-out physical play with his teammates. 

While Staal says his conditioning needs to get better before he is ready to jump into the lineup, he felt great taking hits today:

"I totally felt fully confident going on the ice and taking some hits. There was no doubt in my mind it was the right thing to do."

This was the final bump in the road that Staal needed to overcome, and now it is all about conditioning and stamina-building before he is able to get back into games. There is no timetable for his return, but I'd put my money on him being ready sometime within the next two weeks. 

It's about time.

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